‘Windows were safe’ – inquest

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Management at a crisis house where a woman with psychosis fell to her death from a bedroom window believed the premises were adequately safe before the death, an inquest heard.

Philippa Smith, the registered manager of the Rethink-run crisis house in Thornsett Road, Nether Edge, where 31-year-old Lucy Moffatt fell to her death on July 9 last year, gave evidence at her inquest.

An alert had been issued by the Department of Health four months before the house opened, after a man died after breaking through a window restrictor at a hospital elsewhere.

It said: “Evidence at the inquest showed the restrictor could not be relied upon to prevent a determined effort to force the window open beyond 100mm.”

Asked about the alert, Ms Smith said: “I believed the restrictors, that were newly fitted, were adequate.”

The house had risk assessments in place and windows were regularly visually inspected – though there were no written records of this, the jury heard.

It was also assessed by the Care Quality Commission twice – with different results.

Coroner Christopher Dorries summarised: “So there was an inspection before the premises opened and the window was felt to be compliant.

“There was an inspection after Lucy’s death and the same window with the same restrictor in place – albeit with the knowledge there had been a fatality – doesn’t pass, perhaps because of the unexplained element at that stage.”

The inquest continues.